A personal initiative to live more appreciatively

Sunday, May 20, 2012

#171: The Kindness of Strangers

A stereotype was confirmed for me this weekend: Midwesterners truly are the nicest people. We rode the subway twice, and both times were immediately offered seats; at a crowded beer garden two groups of people made room at the tables they were sharing so that we could have a table, too, and then they offered us their appetizers to share; crossing the street a man walked at an angle and slightly stepped in front of me, then turned to apologize profusely for cutting me off. We were in awe all weekend at this, and it became a running joke to compare it to the stereotypical New York/New Jersey treatment in these scenarios. Of course I am not a believer in true stereotypes: there are unbelievably selfless, kind people in NYC, and likely jerks in Chicago (although we didn't come across any...) But I think there is definitely truth to the culture. NYC is so on-the-go I think courtesy gets a bit lost, whereas amidst the slower pace of the Midwest people actually see one another, making them more kind. I am so grateful I witnessed this culture of kindness.

When we landed I witnessed a rather terse interaction between an airport employee and a passenger, I sighed, already missing the politeness and friendliness I was immersed in all weekend. After this weekend I am on a mission to cultivate midwestern manners more in my life here on the East Coast. 

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